Thursday, October 16, 2014

The monkey throws a wrench or two

We were up on the hill above our little patio the other day staking out the location of a privacy screen.

We are intensely private people (Others have another, less flattering, way of putting it but we're sticking with intensely private thank you.) and maintain a naturally thick and heavy growth along our fence line to block the view in, but if the weekend neighbors to the north come right up to a particular section of fence-line, and if it's winter when the vegetation is a little sparser, they might be able to get a glimpse or two of our little patio area. So we're going to put a natural cedar-stick screen up there in that band of growth on our side of the fence to make it a little denser.

(When that property to the north went up for sale we intended to buy it to increase our privacy buffer but it was grossly overpriced. While we were waiting for reality to drop the price to something more reasonable some damn fool that should know better (He lives in the city but sells farm insurance in the area so knows the land values.) paid way too much and bought the place out from under us. Not to mention the upward kick that gave all of our property taxes that year!)

The day after we set out the stakes marking the limits of our intended screen we made a run into town. It was a windy day and when we got back we discovered that an old oak had fallen right on top of our stakes!

Wrench One!

Which is exactly why we stay out of the woods on windy days around here! We have lots of Water and Post Oak and when these trees die they get brittle and tend to come down with no warning.

First they shed the larger branches (With a single, sharp crack followed by a thud and believe me, you don't want to be part of that thud as the branch hits the ground!) and eventually the denuded trunk is held up by - well - not much, and a little wind in the right place snaps off what little is left of the root system and down it comes!

As long as we're not underneath it when that happens we can simply clean up the results. In this case, since the wood was still in pretty decent shape I decided to cut it into fireplace sized chunks. Not that we have a fireplace, or even a fire ring, but who knows, someday we might. . .

Of course now I need some sort of wood rack to put the rounds into to keep them dry and rot free until I get around to splitting them. I have several treated 2x10's left over from other projects I can make a platform with, so I drug out a couple of railroad ties we've had laying around for years intending to cut them into cribbing to keep the platform up off the ground. Only the chainsaw that I had just used to cut the tree into rounds decided it wasn't going to work anymore and barely managed one cut.

Wrench Two!

I checked the usual culprits, fresh fuel, chain not binding, pull and clean the plug, but that was just wishful thinking since I had a sinking feeling I knew what the issue was all along.

You see, when I pumped the primer bulb after putting fresh fuel in the saw, I noticed I was getting lots of teeny tiny bubbles and teeny tiny bubbles are not normal! So I drained the fresh fuel back out and did some poking around inside the fuel tank where I found the weighted fuel filter just rattling around loose instead of hanging on the end of the fuel line where it belongs. I fished the end of the fuel line out to where I could see it and found it was split and rotten.

Once again that ridiculously inefficient and environmentally questionable gas-alcohol mix that's been forced on us by well meaning but short sighted environmentalists helped along by savvy agribusiness has bitten me in the ass! Despite draining the fuel tank between uses, the alcohol has still managed to rot the fuel line.

So, forced into the role of mechanic, a role I'm not very well suited for, I started taking lots of pictures and disassembling the saw so I could get in there and replace the fuel lines.

The lines to and from the primer bulb are in pretty good shape, which is a good thing because the one running back into the fuel tank, the longer one on the top in the photo above, goes to some sort of fitting inside the tank and just doesn't want to come loose. Afraid I would  break something with disastrous results if I pulled any harder, I decided to just leave it as is. But as long as I was there I went ahead and replaced the shorter line even though it was still in good shape, (This rotting of the fuel line issue is not new and I have a stock of new, alcohol resistant, tubing on hand.)

but for some strange and frustrating reason, the particular bit of fuel line that runs from the filter in the tank up to the carburetor is a different size!! And of course I don't have that size. . .

Wrench Three!

So now the whole disassembled mess is cluttering up a corner of my workbench until we make another run into town and I can get the right tubing. . . Which will hopefully be soon since all my nicely cut rounds are still sitting out there on the ground!

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